Food Notes for October 19, 2020

City of Edmonton Extends Temporary Patio Program

In response to demand from the hospitality industry and the ongoing pandemic, the City of Edmonton has extended the temporary patio program until March 31, 2021.

However, in anticipation of snow clearing needs, patios will not be permitted to extend across sidewalks as pedestrians will no longer be able to use the curb lane as a detour.

This has impacted the plans for businesses such as Tiramisu Bistro, whose application to set up three heated igloos on the sidewalk was denied. Owner Seble Issac was frustrated with the decision:

“This is the only hope of keeping everyone employed and implementing COVID-19 restrictions. You can’t just tell people, ‘Put on your warm jackets, we’ll put up some lights and you go enjoy the winter.’ You cannot do that. You’ve got to create an experience and this is an experience I’m trying to create.”

Although pedestrian safety is the basis cited for the rejection of the proposal, it’s challenging not to believe the real reason is to preserve vehicular traffic flow. 124 Street from Jasper Avenue to 109 Avenue is identified as a Main Street: they are “pedestrian priority streets” that “entice people to linger on the street”. Coincidentally, on the Main Street front page, the opening photograph is of Tiramisu Bistro. While the photo is of the restaurant in warmer climes, the guidelines state that Main Streets are designed for all seasons.

In many ways, restaurants situated along a main thoroughfare will be disadvantaged in the colder months because of limitations to sidewalk expansion. It’s not surprising that two of the most popular cool-weather patios so far this year are Little Brick and Cafe Bicyclette, who are unencumbered by space due to their yard and courtyard access (and to their credit, heavy investment in heating implements). Will these regulations lead to closures of more businesses along main streets? Only time will tell.

COVID-19-related News

Openings

  • Bistro 99, a “European cafe and bar”, opened this week at 10504 99 Avenue.
  • There’s a new Tunisian restaurant called Golden Fork, located at 12118 90 Street.
  • Taste of Lebanon is now open in Old Strathcona at 10105 82 Avenue.
  • The folks behind the original Fat Franks have opened a food trailer called Dick’s Tater Ship at 10319 82 Avenue. They had planned to remain open as long as the weather cooperated, but the recent temperature dip has led to an early closure.

Upcoming Events

  • Back in March, Downtown Dining Week was cut short due to the pandemic. The Downtown Business Association is relaunching the showcase from October 28 – November 8, 2020 to “reignite hope in Downtown’s hospitality scene.” The 26 participating restaurants are offering fixed price menus of $20 lunch/brunch and $35 or $50 dinners.
  • Jason Foster is returning to the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension to host a course called Brewed in Alberta: Exploring Alberta’s Craft Beer Industry (the previous sessions offered over the summer sold out). The 4-week sessions begin November 3 or 4, 2020. Course registration costs $75, plus $100 for 16 beers to be discussed.
  • Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is hosting a weekend Swine & Dine, featuring cooking demonstrations from several Edmonton-based chefs, including RGE RD’s Blair Lebsack and Edgar Gutierrez from Kanto 98 St.

Local News

  • CTV featured the story behind BIPOC and queer-friendly cafe Intent Coffee, located in Southgate Centre.
  • Both Sugared and Spiced and Cartago debuted new online ordering systems this month. It’s great to see more local businesses investing in their online systems.
  • Global checked in with Chef Medi Tabtoub of Vivo Ristorante about their pandemic pivots and fall menu changes.
  • Jack’s Burger Shack pulled out of joining the Stadium Yards development after the start of the pandemic.
  • Uber Eats has launched liquor delivery from local liquor stores in Edmonton and Calgary.
  • A new food bank has opened that supports military veterans and their families.

What I Ate

  • Our Friday night take-out from King Noodle House satisfied my weeks-long craving for Bun Bo Hue.

King Noodle House

Takeout spread from King Noodle House

  • We ordered some cinnamon buns from TYP TOP Bakery over the weekend. It’s a social enterprise run by the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton that provides paid work experience to at-risk youth. Led by Chef Kelsey Johnson (of Cafe Linnea), they offer breads and sweet treats. We were impressed with the size and quality of the buns (not too sweet, and super fluffy!), and we’d definitely order them again!

Typ Top Bakery

Cinnamon buns from TYP TOP Bakery

  • We’re glad we pulled out our potatoes last weekend, given how quickly the temperatures have fallen this month. It was another good season at Alex Decoteau Community Garden; Emily certainly had her fill of tomatoes this year. Until spring!

Alex Decoteau Garden

With our final harvest at Alex Decoteau Community Garden

Food Notes for October 12, 2020

Indoor Dining Continues as COVID-19 Cases Rise in Edmonton

Alberta’s COVID-19 case counts continue to increase, with last Thursday’s total recording as the highest single day case count since the start of the pandemic. With a majority of new cases in Edmonton, Dr. Deena Hinshaw imposed additional voluntary measures last week in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

These restrictions included limiting family and private social gatherings to no more than 15 people, and recommending masks for all indoor work settings where social distancing is not possible. The restrictions do not include closures of some in-person services such as indoor dining, which was the direction taken by Quebec for certain jurisdictions at the end of September, and by Ontario last week for regional hot spots.

Even if indoor dining service continues to be an option in Edmonton, some patrons will continue to seek alternatives. As fall sets in, restaurants continue to ponder whether the investment in a winter patio will bear fruit as temperatures drop. Others, such as Little Brick, have already shored up their outdoor seating with tents and heaters.

Openings

  • Love Pizza’s Spruce Grove location opens on October 13, 2020. It is located at #314, 11 Westwind Drive.
  • There’s a new restaurant at West Edmonton Mall called Five and Dive (modelled after a dive bar), where all of the food is priced at $5.55 or less. It opens October 15, 2020.

Upcoming Events

  • Like most other festivals this year, LitFest is completely virtual. The launch of a book called Beyond the Food Court, an anthology of literary cuisines, takes place on October 15, 2020 and is free.
  • The Butternut Tree is hosting a high tea on November 15, 2020. Tickets are available for $65 per person.

Local News

  • A reminder that the episode of Food Network’s Wall of Chefs, featuring Edmontonian Alexis Hillyard (of Stump Kitchen fame), airs on October 13, 2020. She will be reacting to the show on Facebook live.
  • Tres Carnales Rostizado is aiming to re-open with a new look, new menu, and expanded hours on October 19, 2020.
  • Amy’s famous dry spicy chicken is now available frozen through Uproot Food Collective. When it was first released in September, it sold out within 48 hours.
  • Cibo Bistro teased a forthcoming project from Chef Rosario Caputo called Impasto Lab.
  • Duchess and RGE RD have collaborated to make tourtiere, made with high-quality pork from small-scale producers. It is available frozen from both Duchess locations, and through their delivery service.
  • Chef Steven Brochu of MilkCrate has started a culinary video series called Brochu + You. The first video features a recipe for a one-pan Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Lincoln Ho of YEGventures is collecting nominations for his “Best of Edmonton 2020” list, which includes categories for different cuisines of food, and as fitting for this year, “restaurant with the best pandemic safety measures”. Nominations will be accepted until October 31, 2020.
  • The latest episode of NAIT’s Mawji Centre Let’s Do Coffee podcast features Nevin and Kara Fenske of Drift Food Truck.
  • There’s a new distillery in town called Lone Pine Distilling.
  • An episode of Serena Mah’s podcast Untold Stories highlights the Pandemic Planting Project launched by a lawyer and vice-chair of the Edmonton Food Bank that yielded 100,000 potatoes for those in need.

Beyond Edmonton

  • Linda shared a sponsored travel guide of Stony Plain (just 30 minutes west of Edmonton), including where to eat.
  • Karen Anderson of Alberta Food Tours launched Alberta Food Finder, an innovative way to explore Calgary’s Kensington area. The mobile-based app encourages players to “discover clues, solve puzzles and complete fun challenges while experiencing the best tasting food and atmosphere Kensington has to offer.” It costs $45 per team, and is designed in a way that follows public health guidelines. Expansion of this initiative could include Edmonton in the near future.
  • Uber Eats has launched an Eats Pass for $9.99/month, which provides subscribers with $0 delivery fee and 5% off orders over $15.
  • Canada has released a plan to ban six single-use plastic items by the end of 2021: checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery, and food ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics.
  • Yelp has instituted a new alert that will flag businesses who have reports of racist conduct.

What I Ate

  • I was disappointed that the turkey sandwich was already sold out by the time Mack and I made it to Melt Sandwich Co. in the Bell Tower on Friday, but their Cubano was still pretty satisfying.

Melt Sandwich Co.

Cubano from Melt Sandwich Co.

  • To satisfy a pasta craving, we walked over to Amore Pasta downtown. The staff were incredibly efficient, and we were out with our order in less than 15 minutes. My “show me the balls” mac and cheese hit the spot.

Amore Pasta

“Show me the balls” mac from Amore Pasta

  • Mack and I were able to get away for a lunch date this weekend, finally trying Yoshii Express, which experienced a social media bump over the summer. The owner Alan was gracious and hospitable. We enjoyed our steaming bowls of tonkotsu ramen on the patio (nothing says shoulder season better than soup!). Unfortunately for Alan, business has slowed down again, with less foot traffic as the temperature has dropped.

Yoshii Express

Ramen on the patio at Yoshii Express

  • We capped off our Thanksgiving weekend with an annual tradition – enjoying the Lovesgiving pizza from Love Pizza (featuring mashed potato spread, pulled turkey, stuffing, cranberry chutney, gravy, and brie cheese drizzle). Emily happily ate all of the cranberries off our pizzas.

Love Pizza

Lovesgiving pizza from Love Pizza

Food Notes for October 5, 2020

Local Filmmaker Kevin Kossowan Debuts Show on PBS

Edmonton-based filmmaker Kevin Kossowan, known for his series From the Wild, debuted a new show which began airing on PBS last week.

Les Stroud’s Wild Harvest follows host Les Stroud and Calgary-based chef Paul Rogalski as they cook with ingredients they’ve foraged themselves.

Experience breathtaking landscapes, discover unexpected wild edibles, and witness the wild harvest become extraordinary and delicious cuisine. Outdoor and culinary enthusiasts will learn how to harvest and cook with ingredients like Cattail, Wild Radish, Walking Stick Kelp, Milkweed, Wild Turkey, Wild Mint, Pine Mushrooms & Mussels.

Much of the series was filmed in Canada, with four of the thirteen episodes featuring Alberta locations.

Openings

  • Mood Cafe opened in Belgravia last week. They are located at 7601 115 Street.
  • Intent Coffee opened back in September in Southgate Centre.
  • Typ Top Bakery is a new social enterprise run by the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton. Youth gain paid work experience under direction of Chef Kelsey Johnson (of Cafe Linnea). They launched subscription boxes but their goods can also be found at markets and local cafes.
  • A location of Browns Craft House (an offshoot of the Browns Social House chain) is coming soon to 124 Street and 102 Avenue.

Closures

  • Downtown pub Rose and Crown has closed.
  • Prairie Noodle, which announced that its last day will be October 24, 2020, has some parting words of thanks for its customers and the community.

Upcoming Events

  • Atco’s Blue Flame Kitchen has transitioned their in-person classes to an online format. Unfortunately, the ingredient kits sold separately to help attendees cook alongside the chef are only offered out of their Calgary location. Classes are $25 each.
  • Ernest’s at NAIT is offering a take-home high tea package, at $40 per person, for pick up on October 24, 2020.

Local News

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • The City of Edmonton’s City Farm had a successful first year, so far yielding 9,000kg of vegetables that have been distributed to families in need. The five acre farm is located at Old Man Creek Nursery in northeast Edmonton.

What I Ate

  • What glorious weather we had over the weekend! We continued our Friday picnic series with take-out from Otto (who had a great seasonal Oktoberfest menu) – the schnitzel burger was delicious, and well, I can never turn down their garlic fries.

Otto

A selection of our order from Otto

  • I met up with a friend on the super sunny Cafe Versailles patio on High Street. Friendly service, and I was pleasantly surprised by the mushroom garlic danish.

Cafe Versailles

The view from the Cafe Versailles patio

Food Notes for September 21, 2020

City of Edmonton To Consider Extension to Patio Program

At present, the City of Edmonton’s relaxing of rules around outdoor patios and sidewalk cafes expires on December 31, 2020. With some restaurant owners pushing for extensions to support the local hospitality industry, the City is exploring an extension to the program.

City spokesman Anthony Toderian said, “We have been hearing from businesses and associations that they would like to continue to operate their temporary patios into the colder months…Administration is investigating options for winter patios but a decision has not been finalized.”

The current guidelines allow for electric and propane heaters and one tent.

COVID-19-related News

Openings

  • Love Pizza quietly opened their southwest location at 5011 Mullen Road on Friday to “overwhelming” response. They had to restock over the weekend and will re-open on September 22, 2020.
  • It looks like Mood Cafe in Belgravia (7601 115 Street) is gearing up to open on September 25, 2020.
  • Old Strathcona’s newest cafe La Bosco Cafe is hosting their grand opening on September 29, 2020. They are located at 10413 79 Avenue.
  • Julia’s Cafe is coming soon to the Standard Life building Downtown at 10405 Jasper Avenue.
  • Back in the spring, Sneaky Pete’s on Alberta Avenue was rebranded High Note Bar and Grill under new ownership. Find them at 12315 118 Avenue.

Closures

Upcoming Events

  • The Westin has been offering “experiential date nights” in the form of a 3-course dinner, chocolate tasting presentation with Colleen Heidecker of Colleen’s Chocolates, and a one night accommodation. The next date is October 3, 2020; tickets are $303.

Local News

Beyond Edmonton

  • The Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye by Alberta Distillers took top honours in this year’s Whisky Bible as the “World Whisky of the Year”.
  • An agri-food industrial park is being planned for Vegreville, to be completed by 2022.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • Shirley Ross, co-founder of the University of Alberta’s Green and Gold Community Garden passed away on September 3, 2020.
  • Producers, including those from Reclaim Organics, share their experiences of farming during the pandemic.

What I Ate

  • We hit up Rosewood Foods for another Friday night picnic. Mack, Emily, and I shared their katsu chicken sandwich and patty melt – so delicious.

Rosewood Foods

Patty melt from Rosewood Foods

Food Notes for September 14, 2020

Scavenger Hunt Encourages North Edge Exploration

The North Edge, a Business Improvement Area located just north of Downtown and Oliver, has created a unique way to encourage exploration of more than a dozen of their food-related establishments.

YEG Takeout is offering a total of $750 in Visa gift cards for those keen to solve clues related to 14 different businesses in the area, or at least take the time to visit at least one location during the specified time frame. The contest runs from September 11-25, 2020. Participating businesses include The Art of Cake, Uproot Food Collective, The Lingnan, and Blue Nile Restaurant.

The scavenger hunt was put together by Vinson Luong of Food Search Inc. Early on in the pandemic back in March, Vinson had put together a popular Google Doc listing over 500 restaurants who were offering take-out and delivery.

COVID-19-related News

Openings

  • Hanjan is opening a third location in Oliver on September 18, 2020. Find it at 10166 114 Street.
  • Eritrean restaurant Weini opened in August 2020 at 10514 111 Street.
  • New Italian restaurant Del Posto opened up back in July in the former Pho Langs space at 10056 107 Street.
  • Thanks to Linda for the heads-up about a new Mexican restaurant in Spruce Grove called El Taco Loco (307 McLeod Avenue).
  • Two new establishments will be opening up in Riverdale later this year by the current owners of Little Brick: savoury bakery Bread and Butter Bakery and pub Dogpatch.

Upcoming Events

  • A trio of amazing chefs (Edgar Gutierrez, Roel Canafranca, Ariel del Rosario) are collaborating to cook up a Filipino-inspired brunch on September 20, 2020 at Filistix.
  • The Telus World of Science is hosting a virtual fundraising event called the Lumen Kitchen Party on October 16, 2020. Tickets are $20 and include live performances and food-themed science experiments. There is also the option for a dinner and wine-pairing from RGE RD or Guru (starting at $43 per person).

Local News

  • Why Not started a pre-order take-out only initiative called Backstairs Burger (a take on the “alley burgers” of the past). They’re serving up some of “the craziest burgers in YEG”.
  • I Heart Edmonton created a Foodie Edition of a #TrueEdmontonian list that went viral last week. This list includes 50 food businesses, some of which are no longer in business. These types of lists are always subjective, and others have offered their own lists in response.
  • Sharman Hnatiuk put together a great gluten-free restaurant guide over at Explore Edmonton.
  • In the same vein as In the Weeds, Chef Steven Brochu of MilkCrate launched MilkCrate Listens in June 2020. It’s meant to “encourage more conversations about mental health, particularly within the restaurant and hospitality industries.”
  • True North Picnic will continue to offer outdoor picnics as long as the temperature remains above 0C. Their fall picnic experiences take place at fire pits.
  • Kristina Botelho of kb&co is a finalist for the Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Emerging Entrepreneur Award.
  • Calgary and Edmonton top take-out numbers in all of Canada, according to Skip the Dishes (though it doesn’t specify whether this is per capita or volume). Over at DoorDash, it appears the most popular item are fries.
  • Pizza 73, which originated in Edmonton in 1985, is celebrating 35 years in business.
  • Grocery delivery service Inabuggy has launched Inabuggy-Mart in Edmonton that will offer 30-minute delivery from convenience stores, flower shops and butchers.

Beyond Edmonton

  • Plant-based Impossible Burger is now available in Canada, but unfortunately, not currently in Edmonton. 13 restaurants in Canada are serving up their products; locals will have to drive to Calgary’s CHARCUT to taste it for now.

What I Ate

  • Mack, Emily, and I headed to Drumheller last week for another staycation. As with our other break earlier this summer, we brought frozen dishes sourced locally, including pies from South Island Pies, TV dinners from Culina To Go, and pizzas from Love Pizza (unfortunately, they’ve pivoted away from the frozen pies).

Love Pizza

Meatatarian take-and-bake from Love Pizza

  • Having meals at our AirBnB is a symptom of having a two-year old but also an effort to limit necessary trips indoors. WE made one exception for a stop at Black Mountain Roasters, to sample some local coffee and fresh cinnamon buns.

Black Mountain Roasters

Cinnamon bun from Black Mountain Roasters

  • We are so grateful to everyone who was involved in getting a market back #on4th this summer. Emily is old enough now to look excitedly out the window on Saturday mornings and exclaim that the market is here. We were regulars at Riverbend Gardens (we look forward to their corn every August), Steve & Dan’s, and Sunworks, and look forward to the possibility that the market may return again next summer. Check out the final Al Fresco Market of the season on September 19, from 11am-4pm.

Al Fresco on 4th

Emily will miss the market

Food Notes for September 7, 2020

Restauranteur Pushes for Regulations to Support Winterizing Patios

As temperatures recede, restaurants across the country are considering options to maintain outdoor dining spaces into the cooler months. Some businesses have relied heavily on patios during the pandemic to boost sales, but as the seasons change, the need to winterize spaces is becoming apparent.

In response to Rachel Notley’s tweet last week asking restauranteurs what they would need to enable this, Cartago and Fleish owner Katy Ingraham made some suggestions:

“We need temporary patio permits made permanent or extended past Dec 31st, snow and ice clearing a priority, relaxation of restrictions for structures and fires, a culture shift to active and vibrant winter cities, money to activate plans and marketing to support the industry.”

Winter patios are not new to Edmonton; in fact, Winter City Edmonton (the City’s initiative to encourage citizens to appreciate and enjoy the outdoors, even during the winter) has been promoting winter patios for several years, including tips on how to design a four season patio. Cafe Bicyclette has had perhaps the most successful all-season patio, a combination of a set-up that protects from some winds, and their investment in space heaters and cozy blankets. For the majority of restaurants (and diners), it will be interesting to see just how many take the plunge to embrace an extension to the outdoor dining season.

COVID-19-related News

  • Ace Coffee Roasters in Garneau has re-opened.
  • The Tomato has a great photo essay featuring restaurants who have honed in on the art of take-out (Corso 32, The Butternut Tree, Glass Monkey, and Japonais).
  • CBC checked in with some businesses, including Blue Plate Diner and Spice Centre, about mask compliance at their establishments.

Openings

  • Find new Norwood restaurant Belge Cafe at 11307 95 Street.
  • Bistro 99 has taken over the space formerly occupied by a Starbucks at 99 Avenue and 105 Street.

Closures

Upcoming Events

  • NorQuest is hosting food trucks every Monday to Thursday in September from 11am-1pm on 108 Street and 102 Avenue.
  • Action for Healthy Communities is hosting YEG International World Tour Market on September 19, 2020 from 1-5pm at 10578 113 Street, featuring a number of food vendors.
  • Wild Heart and Kingsway Mall are again hosting a food truck festival on September 25, 2020 from 5-9pm, featuring up to 10 trucks.

Local News

  • Tech Life Today has the story behind the partners attempting to revive the Transit Hotel. It’s first phase, if all goes well, will see the main-floor family-friendly smokehouse restaurant open in the fall.
  • A listicle from Narcity points to a dozen alternatives to Starbucks that also serve pumpkin spice lattes.
  • The Edmonton Public Library has a video session all about the science of sourdough, led by Christine Gue from FiddleSticks Bread.
  • Russell Bird from You Need a BBQ is the guest on this week’s episode of the Eat More Barbecue podcast.
  • The Root Seller Greenhouse in northeast Edmonton is now bordered by residential communities as opposed to farmland when it first opened.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • Reclaim Urban Farm pivoted in March when their restaurant orders tanked, and have stayed afloat due to their partnership with the Organic Box and by offering fresh flower bouquets.
  • Jerry Kitt of First Nature Farm, a long-time vendor at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, is retiring. His last market day is October 3, 2020.

What I Ate

  • I foresee many trips to T and D Noodle House over the next number of months when working out of the office – their bun bo hue always hits the spot for me.

T and D Noodle House

Bun bo hue from T and D Noodle House

  • Mack and I got out for an afternoon date over the weekend, and stopped by Dorinku Osaka for some warming ramen (I do enjoy their tonkotsu). A patio along a four-lane section of Jasper Avenue isn’t the most pleasant place to eat, but I appreciated their effort to enclose the space with picturesque planter boxes.

Dorinku

Iekei Tonkotsu from Dorinku Osaka

  • Emily, Mack, and I headed out to Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village on their last operational weekend. I’m not sure Emily could yet appreciate the history (especially given all of the buildings were closed as a part of their COVID precautions), but she certainly loved the perogies!

Ukrainian Cultural Village

Platter from Ukrainian Cultural Village

Food Notes for August 31, 2020

Sugared and Spiced to Re-Evaluate Business Model

Like many food businesses, bakery Sugared and Spiced pivoted early on in the pandemic this summer and began offering some take-and-bake items. This met a need for customers limiting trips outside the home, and was added as an option in addition to their fresh baked goods and cakes. But with the length of the pandemic, they announced a need to shift their business model further.

Co-owners Amy and Jeff Nachtigall shared an update on August 26, 2020:

“So many things have changed in our lives and our business over the last 5 months, and we need to take a moment to examine how we can make our shop viable. Our revenue comes from things like spontaneous activity, well-planned gatherings and events, discretionary spending, and summer festival spillover. All of these are down, and some are non-existent.”

In response, the shop is closed for walk-ins until September 4, 2020 to provide the business time to re-evaluate. This will include some menu changes and finalizing an online ordering system.

So far, Sugared and Spiced has been “inundated with orders” after posting the update, and hope to have their new online system up soon.

COVID-19-related News

Openings

Upcoming Events

  • Le Cheeseburger Week takes place from September 1-7, 2020, with a national search for Canada’s best cheeseburger. The event benefits Centraide and United Way, with proceeds with select burgers donated to food, housing and skills training programs. While most entries are concentrated in Quebec, Edmonton has one entrant: Cafe Rista.
  • Canada’s Great Kitchen Party will be hosted virtually in Edmonton on October 23, 2020 with three-course meals delivered to ticket holders. Tickets are $195 per person. The Tomato has a run-down of the six chefs competing.

Reviews

Local News

  • The Edmonton Journal’s Liane Faulder submitted her farewell column – her voice will be missed in the local food scene.
  • Chartier out in Beaumont has re-opened after some renovations.
  • Ernest’s at NAIT will re-open in September.
  • Food truck Smoke & Ash was broken into last week.
  • Pink Gorilla Pizzeria continues the trend of heat-and-eat items with their Grab n Go Calzones.
  • CBC Radioactive went on a hunt for mini doughnuts, in lieu of cancelled festivals this summer. They found them at Fatburger.
  • Long-standing Black Box Hospitality Group Chef Allan Suddaby is departing the company – best wishes Allan!
  • CJSR podcast That’s Food launched their second season with a doughnut-focused episode, sampling their way through Bliss Baked Goods, Take 5, Italian Bakery, Ohana, and Safeway.
  • Parts 3 and 4 of the Let’s Find Out series focusing on former restaurant Mirama are now available.

Beyond Edmonton

  • KFC has suspended their “finger lickin’ good” slogan in light of the pandemic.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • Chatsworth Farm, located about two hours east of Edmonton, has started a Chatsworth Farm Through the Season subscription. Participants will be able to visit the farm at five prime times through the year, including harvest, calving season, and lambing season. 15 spots are available and the deadline to sign up is September 21, 2020.

What I Ate

  • Art of Charcuterie has teamed up with Meuwly’s to offer handmade boxes that will feature their house-made cured meats alongside other local products. We were fortunate enough to have been gifted a sample over the weekend, and can attest to how stunning they are.

Art of Charcuterie

Art of Charcuterie box

  • Mack, Emily, and I celebrated the end of summer (since every glorious day at this point may be the last one) with another picnic on Friday. It was time for our annual Burger’s Priest binge on their Vatican City burger (made with two grilled cheese sandwich “buns”).

Burger’s Priest

Vatican City from Burger’s Priest

Food Notes for August 24, 2020

Restaurant Receives Support for Upholding Mask Bylaw

Last week, Blue Plate Diner tweeted that they refused entry to patrons who chose not to follow the current mask bylaw.

“Soo… there’s still a mask-wearing bylaw in effect right,? Because we just got chewed out by a couple who "weren’t going to do this shit" when we politely asked them to put on their masks so we could take them to their table. Our staff and I will not be bullied.”

On August 1, 2020, the City of Edmonton adopted a bylaw that mandates a mask or face covering in all indoor public places. This includes inside restaurants when diners are not eating or drinking.

Co-owner Rima Devitt shared with CTV News that the patron was a regular customer. The restaurant had also experienced a second incident where a different customer refused to wear a mask.

The response to their tweet was overwhelmingly positive, with most respondents supporting their stance of enforcing the required protocol.

COVID-19-related News

Openings

  • Mood Cafe is opening soon in the space formerly occupied by Gracious Goods in Belgravia (7601 115 Street). They will offer pastry and pizzas.
  • A new restaurant called Taste of Lebanon is forthcoming on Whyte Avenue and 101 Street.
  • Smokehouse BBQ has relocated their operations to the German Canadian Culture Association (8310 Roper Road). The restaurant will re-open September 10, 2020 and feature a German menu and selected Smokehouse items.

Closures

  • Malaysian restaurant Island Cafe & Bistro is now closed.

Upcoming Events

  • 2019 Great Kitchen Party and 2020 Fire Masters winner Chef JP Dublado will be holding a take-out pop-up at Filistix Downtown on August 30, 2020. Take a peek at his menu and order online.
  • If you’re craving Montreal-style bagels, Tamara Vineberg is co-hosting a bagel fundraiser for the B’nai Brith Youth Organization – $20 per dozen bagels to be received on September 16, 2020. Orders need to be in by September 11.

Local News

  • Liane Faulder is retiring from The Edmonton Journal on August 31, 2020 after more than 30 years with the paper. While Liane has not been primarily covering food since August 2019, it is a loss for the local food scene.
  • Congratulations to Northern Chicken who raised over $1500 for In the Weeds YEG, a group of hospitality professionals who provide mental health support and advocacy.
  • Both Corso 32 and Bar Bricco remain closed due to flood damage.
  • Explore Edmonton is offering a free digital brewery pass, which enables pass holder discounts at ten local breweries.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • Alberta Farmer has the origin story of Rosy Farms, a haskap farm in Alcomdale. Owner Andrew Rosychuk is investigating on-farm processing of the berries, and the potential to grow the market for haskaps and processed products.

What I Ate

  • Filistix easily has the cutest patio Downtown – two tables framed by wood planters and a great set back from the street. We had to try their new sweet spaghetti (with hot dogs, of course). Emily loved it, but Mack and I will likely always prefer the flavour bomb that is the bagoong xo fried rice.

Filistix

Sweet spaghetti from Filistix

  • Running errands was made better after refueling at Farrow. Long live the Grick!

Farrow

Grick sandwich from Farrow

    Food Notes for August 17, 2020

    Uproot Food Collective Highlights Local Producers

    Many food and grocery delivery services have sprung up in the wake of the pandemic. While some offer local products, Uproot Food Collective is among the few who feature only Alberta-based companies.

    Uproot Food Collective started with three farmers’ market vendors working to grow their businesses together. They created a brick and mortar shop in Edmonton with a delivery option to other communities in the province to make it easier for consumers to find their products. They have since expanded to include 18 companies under the Uproot banner.

    From August 17-18, 2020, they are offering a 20% flash sale of certain Uproot Food Collective products to promote the food hub and to make them more accessible to people in Alberta. Included in the sale are items from Honest Dumplings, South Island Pie, Little Bear Gelato, Caramunchies, Drift, and Mojo Jojo Pickles, among others.

    COVID-19-related News

    Openings

    • Versailles Cafe is now open on High Street in the former Starbucks location (12507 102 Avenue).
    • Two Brown Dogs has replaced Passion de France on Alberta Avenue at 11812 86 Street. They offer dine-in services, coffee, and freezer meals.
    • Tiramisu Bistro on 124 Street has opened up Lift Me Up Market next door. They offer bread, pastries and produce.
    • Sweethoney Dessert is a new chain spot in Old Strathcona featuring Hong Kong-style sweets. It is located at 10746 82 Avenue.

    Closures

    • It appears Normand’s Bistro in the Citadel is closing.

    Upcoming Events

    Reviews

    Local News

    • Kari has news about a new Lebanese catering business called Franco’s Goodies.
    • Intent Coffee, a first generation Pilipinx immigrant, queer, youth, and barista owned coffee collective is hoping to crowdfund $6,000 to go towards their cafe space in Southgate Centre. They have raised over 50% of their goal so far.
    • Alexis Hillyard (aka Stump Kitchen) will be competing on Food Network’s Wall of Chefs in an episode airing October 13, 2020.
    • The Journal published an ode to the Empress.
    • Prairie North, a forthcoming cider company, has put their space on hold indefinitely. In the meantime, they have pivoted to work on collecting fruit donations for families in need. Donations will be accepted from September to October.
    • Arts on the Ave has organized an initiative called Families Helping Families. It pairs a volunteer family capable of buying and delivering groceries with a family in need.
    • Leftovers YEG has continues to divert an increasing amount of food from the landfill to people in need – last month, they collected over 16,000 pounds of food from local grocery stores and farmers’ market vendors.

    Beyond Edmonton

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    • The Edmonton Heritage Council is collecting stories of the City Market when it was housed on 97 Street and 102 Avenue to contribute towards a Chinatown heritage project. Stop by the market to share a memory on August 23 or 29, 2020 from 11am-2pm.
    • Did you ever wonder about the differences between a public and Alberta-approved market? The 124 Street Market shared a post about the regulations and perceptions.
    • The Food Processing Development Centre in Leduc received $2.6 million in federal funding to help support companies to develop new plant-based foods and products.

    What I Ate

    • Celebrating small moments of joy are important these days – such as having my first grilled chicken vermicelli bowl from T and D Noodle House in many, many months.

    T and D Noodle House

    Grilled chicken vermicelli bowl from T and D

    • We met up with Mack’s brother and sister-in-law while they were in town on the DOSC patio – it is amazingly convenient to have several outdoor dining choices right outside our door. The fries were seasoned with a heavy hand, but overall, their oxtail poutine was a comfort, and reasonably priced.

    DOSC

    Oxtail poutine from DOSC

    • We’re also trying to make the most of these fleeting summer days, and ordered a take-out feast from Bundok to enjoy on our outdoor space. It’s hard not to love their gnocchi, but the fresh shaved fennel and nectarine salad was a close second.

    Bundok

    Takeout from Bundok

    Food Notes for August 10, 2020

    RGE RD Expands Business with The Butchery

    RGE RD’s much-anticipated sister business, The Butchery, is set to open by the end of August. Located next door to RGE RD, owners Blair Lebsack and Caitlin Fulton have created a haven for home cooks looking for tips and locally-sourced, high quality products.

    In addition to custom cuts of meat (sourced from the same farmers whose products are served at RGE RD), staff will be available to answer questions about preparation techniques. The space will also eventually host meat-cutting classes.

    For those less-inclined to cook, frozen items like their popular house-made empanadas will be available, as well as ready-to-eat comfort foods like soups and sandwiches.

    COVID-19-related News

    Openings

    • Breadlove, which vends at farmers’ markets in Edmonton, has opened a storefront in St. Albert (46C St. Michael Street).
    • Al Salam Pita has opened a restaurant next door, called Al Salam Restaurant (10149 34 Avenue).
    • Congratulations to Remedy who has opened their ninth location in the Bell Tower (150, 10104 103 Avenue).
    • Villa, who closed their location on 104 Street, relocated to the former location of Nello’s at 11520 100 Avenue.
    • Oodle Noodle has opened a branch in Hamptons, located at 19912 Lessard Road.
    • A new cafe is coming to Old Strathcona called La Bosco Bakery & Cafe, located at 10413 79 Avenue.
    • Arcadia Brewing Co. will be setting up shop in the new Manchester Square Development at 12016 107 Avenue.

    Upcoming Events

    • Analog Brewing collaborated with Yelo’d to produce a Calamansi Wit Beer. They’re celebrating the launch with an event at The Common on August 11, 2020. Tickets are $50 and include a pour, sorbet float, and a burger.
    • Fish & Chip Fridays return to Sabor on August 14, 21, 28, 2020, with proceeds in support of various local charities. Meals are $15.
    • Get Cooking is hosting another farm dinner at Prairie Gardens as a part of Open Farm Days on August 15, 2020. Tickets are $145 per person.
    • The Edmonton Public Library is hosting a free online session about sourdough starters on August 18, 2020.
    • The Plant Protein Alliance of Alberta is offering a free online cooking demonstration and Q & A on pulses on August 21, 2020.

    Local News

    Beyond Edmonton

    • A neighbourhood in Calgary will soon be home to a community fridge, freezer, and pantry. The article references a similar fridge in Edmonton, but I am not aware of anything but the Oliver-based food exchange box.
    • Plant-based chicken is now available for a limited time at KFC.
    • It looks like Conde Nast didn’t actually want to make systemic changes in the wake of the allegations of pay disparity in Bon Appetit’s Test Kitchen. As a result, several stars have left the video series.

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    What I Ate

    • Mack had been craving The Lingnan’s dry spicy chicken, so we put in an order on Friday. And though the weather was blustery and drizzly for most of the day, the sun peeked out in time for us to walk over to pick up our food. We had more than enough for meals over three days, and dry spicy chicken has a new fan in Emily!

    The Lingnan

    Food for days from The Lingnan